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Conrad Schnitzler

One of the prime figures in the growth of Krautrock, Conrad Schnitzler made important contributions to the early history of Kraftwerk and Kluster. Like many in the Krautrock community, Schnitzler was greatly inspired by influences in the visual artistic world as well as the musical; he studied sculpture with Joseph Beuys, and composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen, also looking to John Cage and Pierre Schaeffer for inspiration. By 1969, he was working with Tangerine Dream, with whom he recorded Electronic Meditation. The album became one of the most distinctive in TD's discography, and Schnitzler deserved much of the credit for its chance-taking approach.

Before the end of the decade, Schnitzler had begun appearing with another soon-to-be Krautrock legend, Kluster. Formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, the group recorded two albums in 1970, Klopfzeichen and Zwei Osterei. Schnitzler left for a solo career one year later, though Moebius and Roedelius probably appeared on his debut, Schwarz (no credits were given, but other musicians can be heard). With Schwarz and 1972's Rot, Schnitzler began to progress from mostly acoustic music to a style based around electronics and tape-looped sound. Though he continued to record sparingly during the 1970s, not much of Schnitzler's work was released until the following decade. He emerged in 1978 with the album Con (recorded at Peter Baumann's Paragon Studios), supported by the French label Egg Records.

The beginning of a new decade resulted in much activity for Schnitzler, and he released seven albums in total during 1980-1981 alone. The styles ranged from the harsh sequencer trance of Consequenz to the surprisingly pop-oriented project Con 3 (both were recorded with drum machines and vocals by Wolfgang Sequenza, formerly of Ton Steine Scherben). During the rest of the 1980s, Schnitzler recorded often, but released his work on increasingly obscure labels. After another fallow period during the early '90s, he began recording with Plate Lunch Records, which issued new releases such as 1998's 00/44 as well as archival reissues like 1971's Rot. Schnitzler continued recording throughout the first decade of the new millennium and, in fact, released a recording, 00/830, only days before he passed away. Conrad Schnitzler died from stomach cancer on August 4, 2011. ~ John Bush
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